Sky, BT, fewer watching TV and disenfranchisement


The most significant factor in how competitive or otherwise Celtic, or any other aspiring club in Europe is, is the value of TV rights for the Premier League in England and Wales. Next week, bids will be submitted for domestic rights packages from summer 2019 until 2022.

Things really got out of hand when the current deal was agreed three years ago. Sky increased their bid by 83%, they now pay £11m for every one of the 126 games broadcast each season. BT applied a more modest 18% increase, taking their cost per game to £7.6m. The League also banks international rights, as well as highlights and online packages.

What has changed in the last three years which will impact on the rights values?

On a corporate level, both Sky and BT have plenty to concern themselves with. BT’s consumer broadband and TV business is no longer growing in value, and it is shrinking in headcount. Annual revenue for this division is £1.26bn. The fee they pay to the Premier League each year is £320m.

Even more interesting is Rupert Murdoch’s decision to sell Sky TV along with his other entertainment divisions. Murdoch has had enough, Disney wait in the wings, pending regulatory permission for the deal to proceed.

I don’t think Murdoch is standing alone at the back of his yacht at night, contemplating the wisdom of a former newspaper rival. He is not in trouble, instead he wants out of the business.

Perhaps the most significant ingredient in the mix is the recent agreement for Sky and TV to sell both their Premier League sports channels to customers as a single package. Currently, Sky customers have to pay BT a premium to access BT Sports, and vice versa. If each broadcaster can access the others football package, the competitive frontier moves away from football, to areas like broadband provision.

With the January transfer window just closed, Premier League clubs are clearly not anticipating financial trouble from their paymasters, but the product as lost some of its early shine. TV audiences are on the wane, not just for English football, and not just for football either. This is a phenomenon for live sports in the US too. People just don’t watch as much television as they did five years ago.

So what does all this mean for us? During the Martin O’Neill era, Celtic were regularly in the Deloitte money list of the world’s highest earning 20 football clubs, and only five clubs in England paid more in wages. Since then, we have been disenfranchised from acquiring or retaining top talent.

English football could not afford to survive on the TV deal it had as recently as May 2016 (a 71% difference from the current deal). It would plunge into carnage and, perhaps, structural change. This could be a decade away, or it could happen next week.  But it will happen.

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  1. A joint bid from Sky/BT could happen for the TV rights,talk of Amazon,Facebook,Google, bidding for the rights,could make it a whole new ballgame.

  2. No to continued corruption in Scottish Football, any EBT user linked with jobs in Scottish Football should be vehemently opposed..



    If you tolerate this…

  3. Some Clubs down south are already reigning it in. Manchester City refused to buckle to Sanchez demands. Chelsea were stingy with Edin Dzeko. Arsenal and Tottenham have been prudent. Something could be in the pipeline.

  4. Structural change ? …. next week or ten years ?



    We ( Scotland) can’t even change a ruling body that hasn’t been fit for purpose for how long…….?



    This is no slight on anyone fighting for change ….

  5. My recollection of Auldheid’s post was that he was calling on supporters to ask their clubs if they are members of a club to lobby the Association or Affiliation of clubs to get ready to act should a whitewash happen, individuals could contact the club and tell them they want governace addressed or they will consider not buying season tickets, maybe I am wrong on this.


    Many months ago a local CSC agreed to colect for a judicial review , the SFA have refused a review , Celtic appear isolated as all others want to move on, I think the key to this is the supporters of Celtic and others, and, how they now act.





    Agreed. Binned Sky Sports about eight years go,binned Virgin about three years ago. I don’t watch telly much-rarely,in fact. Only had it for my flat mates.



    Even binned the broadband,went mobile which gave me a personal hotspot. Works the iPad and laptop. £20 inc unlimited calls,texts,30GB.

  7. Celtic fans in unison have the power to change Scottish football. But choose not 2. The board should come out swinging(metaphorically of course) and then c what happens. They won’t. They r complicit. Need out of Scotland. Still love Celtic. Hail hail. Boycott is the only way.





    We have waited a long time for Celtic to make clear their displeasure.



    But rest assured. We are working away behind the scenes,keeping our powder dry,have a dossier,don’t GAF.



    Delete as appropriate,depending on which day of the week it is.



    This,as you say,as others have said,is a fan thing. Too many football people in a comfort zone,too many with too much to lose,too many with skeletons rattling around.



    Some Clubs down south are already reigning it in. Manchester City refused to buckle to Sanchez demands. Chelsea were stingy with Edin Dzeko. Arsenal and Tottenham have been prudent. Something could be in the pipeline.



    True story, although there are reasons for all of that.



    City were worried about what a 500k a week would do to their wage structure and then went out and bought a centre half for over 50m and bid for Mahrez at over 60m. If you look at the sort of player they buy they rarely go for superstars on big wages, they pay high transfer fees and (relatively) lower wages.



    Chelsea have had a commitment to run at break even for a while now, and they’re about to build a stadium thats going to cost up to 1 billion quid, which won’t be paid for in full by Abramovic



    Tottenham are building a new stadium that will have to be paid for by the club not a rich owner and Arsenal are just Arsenal, who knows whats going on there. They haven’t exactly been the model of prudence redectly They just signed up Ozil to a contract thats reputedly worth 300k a week, sold a load of goals in two players and replaced them with one player who cost more in transfer fees and wages than both players combined.

  10. BMCUW I believe the board have to make the 1st move. The fans will rally. If not then a boycott. There will b some unrest but u have 2 stand up for what u believe.





    Your post points out that many of the top clubs re self-sustaining. Which is as it should be.



    No reliance for most on the largesse of shady owners with ill-gotten gains to burn-or,in at least one case,to use as an insurance policy against a black ops team from his homeland.



    It does though,rely very heavily on that TV income. I genuinely can’t see it drying up in the short term,but I do think they need to have a Plan B for when it does.

  12. I’ve been reading for year’s that the EPL/Sky (now BT Sport) bubble is about to burst only for the next TV deal to be even greater than the last. We are now being asked to believe that Man. City’s refusal to pay “over the odds” for Sanchez and Mahrez is a sign that the TV deal is in trouble yet the money spent in the latest transfer window was the second highest in history.



    I do hope the bubble does bust but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. The bubble may let out a little air but EPL deal will still be the largest in world football because there are still enough mugs buying into it to allow them to make it worth while. The worst of it is Scottish football supporters who moan about the disparity between England and Scotland yet continue to subscribe to both Sky and BT Sport or both. Both Sky and BT Sport receive far more from their Scottish subscribers than they pay to Scottish clubs, a fact that is singularly ignored by those (including Pedro) who negotiate the TV deals for Scottish football. I could negotiate a better TV deal for Scotland than any of that shower of incompetents.

  13. I think it’s fair to say that most Scottish football fans don’t care about corruption or good governance in the game. They just want to see their team and have their day oot…



    Wattie could arrive at Hampden on a donkey and the folk would turn out to see him..

  14. The EPL is the opiate of the masses and it won’t be allowed to flop.


    Its there to divert attention from the war-crimes our government is committing.


    The masses are debating the Liverpool-Spurs game and not noticing or caring about things such as the support for Isis and co in Syria and fascist forces in Ukraine and the Saudi genocide in Yemen.

  15. Paul



    With respect to the TV deal we have here in Scotland with the BBC having the rights to broadcast edited highlights:



    I know the sums of money may be chicken-feed compared to the riches being thrown at English football by BT and SKY, but how is it that we have a situation in which the Scottish tax & licence-fee paying public is denied the opportunity to see highlights of games from its own domestic league until we have been presented with 2 editions of English & Welsh league highlights?



    Someone (is it the EPL or the BBC?) is dictating that Scottish football highlights cannot be aired on a Saturday night.



    Indeed, by the time Scottish viewers are ‘allowed’ to see highlights of their own league fixtures (i.e. after 6pm on a Sunday, via BBC2 Scotland), 2 broadcasts of the English/Welsh highlights have already been aired across the whole of the UK (one programme on Saturday night, the other on the following morning; both in the far superior HD format (the Sunday evening BBC2 Scotland football highlights are not broadcast in HD)).



    Not only is this denying revenue to Scottish football (and the possibility of access to better revenue due to the Scottish highlights being transmitted solely to Scottish viewers), it has led to a situation in which Scottish children (the ‘future of the game’) with an interest in current/competitive football are being offered 2 diets of English football (with all its superior coverage, by way of HD pictures, multi-camera positions, latest high tech analysis tools, etc.) before having a chance to watch games from their local leagues (in the comparatively crappy non-HD format, with few camera angles and an obviously poorer investment in presentation and analysis).



    This situation also denigrates Scottish football, by elevating the relative importance of English football to the Scottish public.



    It’s no wonder many Scottish children are more familiar with and drawn to the EPL.



    How is this equitable? How did it come about? Can it be rectified … ?








    It was stated on here a wee while ago that Gary Lineker’s salary from BBC was more than BBC Scotland’s input to Scottish Football.



    Which sucks.



    Scotland pays about 8-9% of the BBC’s income. Not sure we are getting our moneysworth.





    Also a good point. Obscene money.



    These guys are being paid,weekly,the equivalent of a decent football journalist’s annual salary.



    I don’t know how much,say,Henry Winter,is paid. But he will be very lucky indeed to earn in a year,what Henri earns in a month.



    And I know who I’d rather listen to…

  18. Paul67



    “ So what does all this mean for us? During the Martin O’Neill era, Celtic were regularly in the Deloitte money list of the world’s highest earning 20 football clubs, and only five clubs in England paid more in wages. Since then, we have been disenfranchised from acquiring or retaining top talent. “



    Yes, whilst we receive CL cash in recent years, its spread throughout the infrastructure of Celtic Football Club and its running costs from Parkhead to Lennoxtown..



    This includes enormous wages and 18 month contracts for players from ‘the Sky league ‘ that has disenfranchised us.



    Wcan we can sign and school better players than the rest of the SPL, and we already have the players to prove it, the Gazebo £5M plus players can be incorporated into our wage structure. We have the resource the head start and each title win, will lead to the next innovative thought.



    For every day of Sevco’s flatlining, we’re here and healthy, flourishing on top and reaping the direct cash benefits of old EBT Rangers fraud and deception that killed them.



    Enjoying life, every Celtic day as if it were our first and never will be our last.



    Hail Hail





    Almost makes you wonder where we would be without that £35m CL income. Or,alternatively,where it has gone. Especially as we don’t budget for it.




    It does though,rely very heavily on that TV income. I genuinely can’t see it drying up in the short term,but I do think they need to have a Plan B for when it does.



    Agreed. I think the big clubs are all looking to maximize income from ticket and match day sales. Liverpool have extended and are looking to extend further and have improved hospitality, city likewise, chelsea and Tottenham are building new stadiums. I think it’s more likely to be the next group down and the clubs at the bottom who’ll suffer most. The teams we used to fight with for signings

  21. Strangely, last night watching the Watford game I noticed out of maybe 8 adverts during one commercial break, 7 were American made advertising American products. Have Sky and BT priced British company advertising out of their budget and now depending on American adverts taking up the slack. Are more American companies being priced out of their budget by American tv channels, but can afford British advertising costs? Sky and BT rely on advertising revenue as much as subscription charges. They might be pricing themselves out of the market trying to cover costs.

  22. SOUTH OF TUNIS on 6TH FEBRUARY 2018 1:24 PM


    GENE —



    Laporte looks like a seriously good football player .



    But not necessarily a great defender if you believe what Didier Deschamps says

  23. Unless something massive happens, Celtic will continue to fall behind the clubs from the major leagues and we will never again see Celtic in a European final.

  24. traditionalist88 on




    Thats what the article is alluding to, that something massive WILL happen – just a matter of when.



    Just a question of whether this is P67’s own (logical) conclusion or whether he has access to additional info, maybe via Celtic, not yet in the public domain,




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